"These Is My Words" by Nancy E. Turner is in diary form and spans 20 years.
Sarah Prine is a teenage girl traveling with her family to make a living in Arizona Territory. Indian attacks, disease, death, and other hardships force Sarah to grow up face. When members of her family die and she is forced to take a significant role in careing for her family the strain starts to be overwhelming. One night, she breaks down crying in her wagon to be discovered by the arrogant, commanding, hard, and handsome army Captain that served as their wagon train guide, Captain Jack Elliot. She spends a night in his arms - nothing more than sleeping - and fears that she will be a ruined woman. Jack comforts her.
When her family leaves the wagon train to settle down a friend of the family shows up with a heard of horses, planning to start a horse ranch not far from their peach orchard. Jack, still on army duty, can only come by occasionally and still passionate embraces with Sarah. Too late, does he find Sarah married to Jimmy Reed, the family friend, out of a misguided sense of friendship. A short while later Sarah finds herself a young mother and widow - Jimmy being thrown from his horse and dragged at full gallop. Her husbands dying words were confessing his love for a woman he left behind - he married Sarah as a sort of "back up plan."
Jack appears in Sarah's life again, and his love for her and her daughter is stronger than ever. After courting for a while, they marry. The rest of Sarah's diary is her life with Jack and their trials. Growing into middle years, troubles with a sister in law, and the difficulties of raising children in an army fort.
NOTE: As it is in diary form there are many spelling and grammar errors, therefore, it takes a little bit to get used to the format. Probably the thing that throws people off the most is that there are no quatation marks. As assinine as this may sound, after a short time of getting into the book (a very easy and delightful read) one forgets those things.
This report prepared by Ashley Abbott